Maritime Museum of the Atlantic

We loved our Halifax berth at the Maritime Museum, right downtown within walking distance of the city’s many attractions. One of the most memorable exhibits at the museum covers the 1917 Halifax Explosion, the largest man-made detonation prior to the development of nuclear weapons. On December 6th, 1917 the explosives-laden SS Mont-Blanc collided with the…

2016-36: Eureka to Bodega Bay

Friday, October 21, 2016: Change of PlansThe NOAA Marine Forecast early this morning called for Small Craft Warnings.  Most of the wind and wind waves will occur from noon to midnight tonight south of  Point Arena.  So we have delayed ou…

We Are Out of Here

We like squeezing into and out of tight places, and the fuel dock in Uturoa is high on the fun-factor …Read More

2016-35: Crescent City to Eureka

Tuesday-Wednesday, October 18-19, 2016:  Road TripCrew Dick Squire drove from his Malibu home to San Luis Obispo this morning.  Alex joined him for the road trip back to Crescent City.  Last week when the big storms blew into the Pacific…

Halifax Pub Crawl

Halifax proved to be a real challenge for us. The city has so many pubs and breweries that we couldn’t possibly get to them all, even limiting ourselves to the highest rated ones. But we gave it a strong effort. The pubs we visited from September 13th through 19th, 2016 in Halifax, Nova Scotia follow….


Envoy is currently anchored in Ormos Vlikkho, Greece – a secure anchorage waiting for a front with heavy rain and 30 knot winds to pass over. It’s not always sunshine in the Med during Autumn.

Leaving Rethimno we cruise west again to visit another first-time destination – the village of Georgiopoli situated at the mouth of two rivers with the fresh water coming down from the mountains making the anchorage’s water temperature coolish for swimming.
We’re the only boat here and are able to stay one great night before the northerly swell kicks in again making the anchorage untenable. A few passing fishermen comment adversely about our anchoring position but there seems plenty of room for them to pass us safely to reach the river where they moor to the shore. We figure they’re just not used to seeing vessels of Envoy’s size anchored there.

Beautiful tree-lined street in Georgiopoli

This taverna beckons you to come and have a cold beer

Amy and Laurie having breakfast in the courtyard of a shaded taverna

We set off for Ormos Milati, as described in a previous posting, and as usual Envoy is attracting a lot of attention with her distinct and unusual appearance, paravanes out, and flopper-stoppers gently rising and falling. Many people in small craft, and even people swimming come up to us to talk and ask questions.
One man in particular swims out and asks that we join he and his wife and friends for dinner – an invitation we happily accept. Over the next few days we have two great nights with Minoli Spanoucakis, his Greek-American wife Anne, and friends Constantine, Costas, Lilian and others. Minoli used to be Deputy Mayor of the region so is a mine of information. It turns out that Costas is the same guy we met here in 2010 and had dinner with he and his wife. A hospitable lot these Cretans. When we come to pay the bill a great dinner including beer and wine has cost us just 14 Euros (about NZ$22) per head.

Dinner with our new-found Cretan friends

Also in Ormos Milati we meet two Australian couples cruising in their sailing catamarans: Campbell and Debbie from Fremantle aboard “Walanthea” and Brian and Lorraine aboard “Ki”.

Two Australian cats and Envoy anchored at O Milati

With Amy still aboard we cruise for seven and a half hours around the most westerly point of Crete’s north coast to the island of Gramvousa. This is a spectacular area and the island has a couple of bays on its south side, making it reasonably sheltered from the prevailing northerly winds, although at anchorages like this you don’t find perfect shelter.

Envoy anchored off Gramvousa with fortress ruins on top of hill

Crowning the island are the ruins of a huge Venetian fortress built in 1579, triangular in shape, with each side 1km long. It was the last Cretan stronghold to fall to the Turks in 1692, having been held for three years by 3,000 Cretans. In the early 19th century the area became a haven for pirates until an Anglo/French expedition rooted them out in 1828.

A view across the castle’s interior

Envoy at anchor viewed from track leading up to castle

On rocks separating the two bays is the wreck of the ship, Dimitrios P, about 40 metres long and wrecked during a storm in 1968 while carrying bags of cement to Africa. Amy and I snorkel around the wreck noting that hundreds of solidified bags of cement are still clearly visible along with the engine, drive train and huge bronze propeller. The wreck’s condition has deteriorated since our last visit in 2010 though, with large superstructure sections having collapsed.

Gramvousa’s shipwreck

Shipwreck with Envoy in background

We spent two nights there with mid-morning to late afternoon ferries bringing literally hundreds of day-trippers to the island, but after the last of the ferries leave it’s very peaceful, with only a fishing boat moored in the bay one night.
We go ashore for drinks on the deserted beach and Amy and Diane sit in a rock pool by the water’s edge. Di accidentally touches some kind of sea urchin that stings her, embedding dozens of extremly fine hairy prongs into her hand. It’s still sore after Amy and Di spend a couple of hours pulling the hairs out and takes several days to fully recover.

The scene of Di’s sea urchin sting

Looking across to Balos from Gramvousa’s summit

Amy had told us about a products called noodles that provide great flotation when swimming and we used these for the first time this season.

You can wrap the noodle around your chest to provide buoyancy in the water

Laurie and Amy swimming with noodles

It’s great to spend a couple of weeks of quality time with Amy and we enjoy lots of swims, walks ashore, candle-lit BBQ’s aboard Envoy, snorkelling.

Back at Soudha Bay we see some gypsies as we approach the shore in our RHIB. We know what’s coming and as soon as we reach the jetty, the gypsy children approach us with arms outstretched begging while their parents watch. We don’t give them anything, but are then worried about leaving our RHIB unattended there as the children start to crowd around it as we leave, so we play it safe and move the RHIB to a more secure location where there are fisherman nearby to keep an eye on it.

We leave Crete the day after Amy returns to London starting our 200 mile journey to Cephalonia where we’ll meet Australian friends Simon and Bronwyn in two weeks. That day we cruise 16 hours in great conditions to Ay Nikolau on the southern side of Kithera Island and do a partial night cruise, dropping the anchor at 0015 hours the next day.

FPB 78-1 Cochise: Solar Update

We continue to be impressed with Cochise’s solar array. From ten solar panels we are generating within spitting distance of 20 …Read More

It’s Panama Direct (4700 NM): Deciding When To Depart

FPB 78-1 Cochise is Panama-bound, 4700 nautical miles east from our present location, and the question of the day is …Read More

Replacing Engine Mounts: Take One

In Boston we noticed that our forward engine mounts were starting to deteriorate. We purchased replacements but expected the current ones to last for months yet. While in Newfoundland, they suddenly started deteriorating badly and over two weeks the isolation material just crumbled away in a pile around the mount. One morning we picked up…

Halifax Arrival

Halifax is the capital city of Nova Scotia, the economic center of Atlantic Canada and home to Canada’s Atlantic naval fleet. The city has done a wonderful job in rejuvinating its waterfront while keeping the flavor of its commercial and maritime heritage intact. After a run south from the Liscomb River, we passed through Halifax…